BIRCH POPS UP AT AMAZON

Do you work in User Experience? Back-end development? Analytics? If your answer is “no,” then you won’t have a clue what goes on at Amazon Web Services (AWS). For those of you who live with your head up in cloud computing, the AWS Pop-up Lofts aim to be your (temporary) home away from home, offering meetings with the AWS technical team, bootcamps, and hands-on labs. Last Thursday night’s event was the second New York performance in the Amazon Loft Rocks concert series. It was in this unconventional setting that Birch put on a show that united nerds and non-nerds, alike.

The New York Loft resembles the kind of apartment you see in sitcoms, but that no average New Yorker could ever afford in 10 lifetimes; sprawling, and furnished with modern art and beanbag chairs, with a wall of windows looking out over West Broadway. Registration to the event was free, and guests were treated to an open bar and an entire room of sandwiches. Scanning the audience, which included a woman in a MailChimp t-shirt, I was unsure how the band would be received.

There was nothing to worry about. As soon as Birch began to perform, the large crowd packed in by the stage. The band’s set included a stunning performance of “Halfway”, the title track from their most recent EP, which was met with cheers at its completion. You could tell, however, that Birch had truly won the hearts of the audience with their cover of “Back In Your Head” by Tegan and Sara; an anthem of the perpetually lovelorn, a feeling likely common to the more introverted members of the audience.

The band was set up in front of that wall of windows I’m not at all jealous of, with ribbon and holiday lights strung throughout singer and writer Michelle Birsky’s keyboard stand. It was gorgeous. As the show progressed, it felt less like an awkward industry event and more like a house party in the loft of your wealthy friend.

It was a fun night with fun people, and I was surprised by the hospitality offered by Amazon. We will keep you updated as more shows are announced in the Loft Rocks series.

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